Antunez | Spearfish SD
25 Sep 2018
There is A LOT of buzz happening right now for a new restaurant that opened in Spearfish this past May. Spearfish locals both roll their eyes ("we've been devouring their tacos for years - how can you JUST be learning about these guys?!" - said one patron sitting on the patio) and whole-heartedly cheer on their locally owned, made from scratch eatery, Antunez.
"We love those guys! Try the ceviche! Don't miss the guac!" - said a group of twenty-somethings walking by on the sidewalk when I asked if they'd been.
"It's too early for wine - but have some. They have a great list. - and if there is a line - wait. It. Is. Worth. It." - advised a couple that, I swear, were my college professors back in the day.
I purposefully arrived after the lunch crowd had cleared, but before dinner really started to wind up. Their reputation for being a small eatery had not escaped me, and I heard that there is usually a line at opening.
When I walked in, I saw this. The most gloriously colored walls painted the prettiest jewel tone. Cozy and sophisticated all at once. Love the area with the gold mirrors - the chairs were all taken when I arrived and I hurried to snap this shot once they had left later on - just in case they knew the couple that had advised me it was too early to have wine.
My lovely server told me straight-up that everything on the menu was amazing, but if I wanted to eat what they were most known for, well, that would be the from scratch guac and chips with carnitas to follow.
Not one to resist a good suggestion, I ordered both, and was so glad that I had! Great chips (and salsa! and guac!) make or break a Mexican restaurant. Even if you aren't eating carbs, you have to admit you size them up. Because. It matters.
These were so good. I can't wait to go back and order ten other things.
While their website still showcases their amazing talent as a catering service, the demand for their food grew into a restaurant that doesn't serve to-go, or offer catering at this time (oh the cruel irony!) so if you want some fantastic Mexican food, you'll have to sit here like the rest of us. So I'll bypass the link to that and offer up Facebook, instead. Their page is active, full of reviews and recommendations, and lists up to date hours. Please note they are not open on Sunday or Monday.
Meet Mr. Jared DeGraaf.
After chatting up the locals - who were seated/eating inside and out - and all of the staff, Mr. DeGraaf sat beside me for a chat.
He spoke of his love for the culinary world, but how he initially shied away from it due to the very real demands that a career in food often brings: long hours, unforgiving reviews, relentless competition, and often, very little time for a family.
So instead, Jared tried everything else first. But somehow, he ended up back in the food industry right beside his mother. Together they built a taco empire in the Northern Hills that expanded faster than either could have anticipated.
After promising (themselves) to never open a restaurant, they did the obvious thing - opened Antunez.
This tiny little restaurant allowed them to spread out in the kitchen and to give an intimate, local feel to the seating area that most everyone speaks of.
The atmosphere is everything.
No, I get it, the food is everything, but the atmosphere is wonderful!
Jared shared that all the menu items come from secret recipes from his mother, who is not only an accomplished chef, but is also a Sommelier.
The wine warning makes a lot more sense to me now. I will be back to try her pairings, don't you doubt it.
That he has plenty of time for his wife and family, and he wakes up feeling blessed each and every day to get to do what he loves.
Lucky for us, he loves to create great food!
Find Antunez here!